Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Postgame: September pitching has been awful

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: September 28, 2013 - 12:10 AM

    Except for five frigid April games, and the makeup game three weeks ago against the Angels, tonight's crowd of 24,074 was the smallest of the season at Target Field. Which strikes me as a pretty decent crowd; that's almost 5,000 more fans than the Indians average, and they're probably making the playoffs.

    Too bad the Twins fans didn't get a better show for their money, but that's how things have been going lately. Pedro Hernandez put eight of the 12 hitters he faced on base, staked the Indians to a 7-0 lead, and left the paying customers hoping for a big comeback.

    They should be used to it by now, because Minnesota's starting pitching, among the worst in the league even at the best of times this year, has really collapsed down the stretch. Hernandez's short start was the 12th time -- twelfth time! -- in September that the starter failed to pitch five innings. And it was the fifth time this month that the starter recorded six outs or fewer.

    When you're getting far fewer quality starts (seven this month, three by Kevin Correia) than five-inning-or-less flameouts, there's not much the offense can do. Starting pitchers have a cumulative 6.49 ERA this month.

    But there was one important statistical note -- a Twins pitcher finally struck out more than seven hitters. It was Liam Hendriks, in relief of Hernandez, so no starter has done it yet.

    Quick turnaround tonight. Since tomorrow's game begins in less than 12 hours -- remember, it's been rescheduled for a 12:05 start for TV -- I'm cutting this short tonight. Back tomorrow to see if the second team in four days clinches a playoff spot on the Target Field turf.


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